Where do body image issues really start?

Yesterday was report card day for the girls.  Nothing surprising there, of course my girls are all Einstein’s in the making!

Since Christyan is only 4 years old and in Pre-k, they don’t give out report cards.  What they do is send home a folder with examples of her work.  There they offer a samples of her writing, cutting, drawing and painting.  At the end of the folder is a section for a progress report.  Again nothing surprising.  After all my little Christyan is a little Picasso. 

Then I find the following letter, in the back pocket of her folder:

“Dear Parent/Guardian,
Your child was recently weighed and measured in our school to determine how he/she is growing.  These measurements are used along with age and gender to figure body mass index percentile (BMI), a screening test that tells if a person is overweight. 
If your child is overweight, it is usually because the child has too much body fat.  Children who have too much body fat have higher risk of health problems than those who have a healthy weight.  Overweight and at risk children are more likely to become overweight or obese adults.  Obesity may lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other problems. 
Name of Student:  Christyan Bennington
Height:  3′ 6.5″     Weight: 50.5 lbs   BMI: 19.7
 
BMI for Age 95th percentile and above = overweight.
What should you do?  Please share the results of this health screening with your child’s health care provider. 
Regardless of your child’s current status, help them develop healthy weight habits by eating healthy food, participating in physical activity on most (preferably all) days of the week, and by limiting television, video game and computer time.  It is the goal of Clyde CISD to advance student healthy, reduce childhood obesity and promote general wellness of all students through nutrition education. 
Based on the height and weight entered, the BMI is 19.7, placing the BMI-for-age at the 98th percentile for girls aged 4 years 3 months.  This child is obese and is likely to have healthy-related problems because of weight and should be seen by a healthcare provider for further assessment.”
 
 
 

I mean, really?  Does this child appear to be obese?  How about here?

Christyan 4 years old

Christyan knew what the letter said, apparently someone at the school felt it appropriate to tell a 4-year-old she is considered obese.  For about the past 2 month Christyan has been asking if she is fat, now I at least know where she gets the notion.

I find it amusing that you hear so much about the media and entertainment industry setting impossible standards for young girls, but what you never hear about is the body image issues schools are creating.

Christyan is wild, rambunctious, plays constantly and participates in karate twice a week.

Christyan maybe a little chunky, but I think obese is a stretch.  If you put Christyan next to any of her peers, she is not abnormally large or fat.

I probably shouldn’t put too much stock into these reports, after all Catherynn’s report said she was underweight at 3’7.5″ and 43.4 lbs.  But with Catherynn’s report there was not a scathing, urgent letter.

It just upsets me that the school  is supposed to be a safe learning environment.  Instead I find they have already planted that first seed of a poor body image in Christyan. 

I am trying to teach her to not fixate on the scale.  To continue being active and make healthy food choices. 

I don’t understand how these education “professionals” (and I use that term lightly) can do this to a child, but be the first ones to point fingers and lay blame with the entertainment industry being the cause of body image issues.  Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the standards have been set impossibly high by the entertainment industry as well.

The public education system needs to do just that, educate children how to read, write, do math etc.  Leave the parenting of my children to me.  And better yet, don’t tell me how to parent.

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1 Comment

Filed under General, Health

One response to “Where do body image issues really start?

  1. Elizabeth

    That is absolutely insane. The school I think was in the wrong to tell her she’s “obese”. Poor baby looks perfectly fine to me. Stupid school.

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